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Binay submits affidavit to Senate body

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay has disputed allegations of overprice in the Makati City Hall 2 parking building.

Binay said in a seven-page affidavit that the Senate body's investigation “is not in aid of legislation and is violative of my Constitutional rights.”

The vice president also said that the senators have pre-empted their roles as possible senator-judges once impeachment proceedings are pursued against him.

“The hearing has veered towards false criminal accusations against me,” Binay said.

“It must be emphasized, the Senate shall constitute as the Impeachment Court in case the House of Representatives initiates an impeachment proceedings. Therefore, the Senators are unmindful of their role as potential senator-judges,” he said.

“Worst, the Senators are acting as prosecutors, judges, and even as witnesses,” the vice president said.

Binay rejected the call for him to answer all allegations hurle against him. “It bears to stress that these accusations are based on the bare allegations of political detractors. These bare allegations are not evidence,” he said.

A veteran lawyer, Binay raised the issue that unsubstantiated allegations “are not equivalent to proof.” “In short, mere allegations are not evidence,” he said.

Although he debunked wrongdoing in the Makati City Hall 2 parking building issue, Binay did not dwell on his alleged illegal wealth that included the vast property in Batangas, which ownership has been claimed by businessman Antonio Tiu.

Binay has avoided attending the Senate probe but he submitted the affidavit, duly notarized on November 6, where he also lambasted two senators who were aggressive in pinning him down into the alleged overprice controversy.

“The demeanor and declarations of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Sen. Alan Peter Caeyetano clearly show that they are not after the truth. As declared by Sen. Trillanes, among other things, his objective is to put me to jail,” he said.

Binay snubbed the main Senate Blue Ribbon committee inquiry last week.

“I was initially inclined to attend the inquiry before the Blue Ribbon committee as a whole. However, I could not simply disregard the rule of law, the Constitution and well-settled jurisprudence,” he said.

'In aid of persecution'

Binay remained adamant in attending the Senate probe, saying that “it is not the task of the legislature to investigate the culpability of government officials.” He cited the case of Neri vs. Senate Blue Ribbon committee in explaining why he would not attend the inquiry.

“The role of the legislature is to make laws, not to determine anyone’s guilt of a crime or wrongdoing. It cannot adjudicate or prosecute,” he said, adding that the Senate cannot assume the powers reposed upon the prosecutorial bodies and the courts.

Binay also hit the Senate subcommittee chaired by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III for violating his rights.

“Every person, from the highest public official to the most ordinary citizen, has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in proper proceedings by a competent court or body,” he added.

He lamented how some senators are using the sub-committee to brazenly violate all the foregoing tenets of the Supreme Court.

Binay said that the subcommittee continues to “prosecute and judge me and my family on malicious and unfounded criminal accusations in utter disregard of our Constitutional rights, as shown in the transcripts of the proceedings."

Project passed through COA standards

In maintaining that there was nothing illegal in the construction of the building, Binay stressed that the project passed through the proper bidding processes and the maximum and minimum period of the procurement processes.

There were no audit observation memos or disallowances by the resident Commission on Audit (COA) in all years during the construction.

The Vice President also disputed the claims of Cayetano during the hearings where the latter used as benchmarks the Davis Langdon and Seah hand book. “..because the said handbook expressly states that its data is subject to limitations,” he said.

ALAN PETER CAEYETANO

ANTONIO TIU

ANTONIO TRILLANES

AQUILINO PIMENTEL

BINAY

BLUE RIBBON

DAVIS LANGDON AND SEAH

MAKATI CITY HALL

SENATE

SENATE BLUE RIBBON

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